PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, never made any mistakes, but has instead laid the blame on people surrounding former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI
In an interview with Russsian news agency, Sputnik last week, Mnangagwa said they were people that were taking advantage of Mugabe’s old age and had usurped his executive powers.
“No, the (former) President never made any mistakes; there was a small cabal of individuals in the relationship around the First Lady,” Mnangagwa said.
“Because the (former) President is now quite advanced in age, they took advantage of his age, and we were having persons, who were making executive decisions, which is against the Constitution of the country.”
Mnangagwa’s statement is in contradiction to the charges laid against Mugabe in the lead-up to the impeachment process that resulted in the veteran leader stepping down.
Mugabe was accused of, among other things, disrespect for the rule of law, leading to political instability by indiscriminately firing his deputies and overseeing the collapse of the economy.
The former President fired Mnangagwa, as his deputy, precipitating events that would lead to a military takeover and an outpouring of people demanding that the former Zanu PF leader steps down.
Mnangagwa and his faction accused the G40 faction, which had coalesced around Grace, of usurping Mugabe’s authority.
“Our people reacted to people usurping power, which is not given to them by the Constitution, so this was corrected by the masses of Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa continued.
“Our people had spoken that they want a change. So our President responded to that call and he stepped down, then the people, the ruling party Zanu PF, nominated me to lead them, and later on, we went to congress, where I was elected the president of the party.”
Turning to the calls for reforms ahead of the forthcoming elections, Mnangagwa maintained that the environment was already conducive for a free and fair election and invited international observers, including Russia, to come and monitor the election.
“What reforms? Everyone who turns the age of 18 is allowed to vote, so I don’t want us to reduce it to 16,” he said.
“In terms of political democracy, anybody can participate, anybody can form a political party, anybody can contest, that’s the environment and the atmosphere.
“I have no doubt of sweeping the elections, of winning the elections. You are invited if you want to see.”